Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne, Rome

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#1453 of 2,913 in Things to do in Rome
The Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne is a Renaissance palace in Rome, Italy. The palace was designed by Baldassarre Peruzzi in 1532-1536 on a site of three contiguous palaces owned by the old Roman Massimo family and built after arson destroyed the earlier structures during the Sack of Rome (1527). In addition the curved façade was dictated by foundations built upon the stands for the stadium (odeon) of the emperor Domitian. It fronts the now-busy Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, a few hundred yards from the front of the church of Sant'Andrea della Valle.

The entrance is characterized by a central portico with six Doric columns, paired and single. Inside there are two courtyards, of which the first one has a portico with Doric columns as a basement for a rich loggia, which is also made of Doric columns. The column decorations gave the name to the palace, alle Colonne. The façade is renowned as one of the most masterful of its time, combining both elegance with stern rustication. The recessed entrance portico differs from typical palazzo models such as exemplified by the Florentine Palazzo Medici. In addition, there is a variation of size of windows for different levels, and the decorative frames of the windows of the third floor. Unlike the Palazzo Medici, there is no academic adherence to superimposition of orders, depending on the floor. On the opposite façade of this palace, opening onto the Piazzetta dei Massimo, the palace connects with the frescoed façade of the conjoined annex, the Palazzetto Massimi (or Palazzetto Istoriato). For many centuries, this used to be the central post office of Rome, a Massimo family perquisite. To the left of the palace is the Palazzo di Pirro, built by a pupil of Antonio da Sangallo.

The interior ceilings and vestibules are elaborately ornamented with rosettes and coffered roofs. The entrance ceiling is decorated with a fresco by Daniele da Volterra, who represented scenes from the Life of Fabio Massimo, the supposed Roman founder of the Massimo family.

The chapel on the second floor was a room where the 14-year-old Paolo Massimo, son of Fabrizio Massimo, was recalled briefly to life by Saint Philip Neri on March 16, 1583. The interior of the palace is open to the public annually only on that day. Other notable events in the palace of the 16th century including various intrafamilial murders.
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Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne Reviews

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  • We noticed this building during our walk through the streets of the city. We had no idea what it was, did not go inside, but only had a look from the street. Looks quite imposing and the architecture....  more »
  • The one thing I noticed immediately about my first visit to Rome is the absolutely amazing and varied history that is to be found in some of the most unexpected places. We were heading to the bar...  more »
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  • Palazzo Massimo Alle Colonne is one of the masterpieces of Roman' Renaissance designed by Baldassarre Peruzzi in 1532. The complex blueprint of this palace is one of the main characteristics of this monument representing the genius of Peruzzi. He, in fact, found complex solutions to organize the interior space, ensuring at the same time excellent lighting conditions and an intimate living space. The front was realized using an interesting technique, previously used by Bramante, which give it the aspect of a wall of rocks (bugnato).
  • This private palazzo contains a church, declared to be one and not a chapel by papal decree in 1839. It's dedicated to St Philip Neri, and is open to the public on only one day a year -on 16 March. Allegedly the saint had a brief conversation with a dead son of the family, whose body had been laid out in this room on this date in 1583.

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